Workforce and Economic Development Training Program
Phase I Concept Model
Project Objective: Provide youth opportunities to learn career and life skills through an experiential-outward bound summer camp program. Teach community youth vocational skills and trades-based employment strategies using a curriculum that includes; forest ecology, the wild land – human interface, and forest products. Develop and deliver vocational skills training through a modular intensive training program located in or near a national forest area. Utilize existing resources and assets to deliver genuine workforce development outcomes. Create awareness, educational, and career opportunities for these youth using a structured, real world, full-time project.
- Deliver a structured, certified vocational skills training program for volunteer youth.
- Engage, recruit and train community youth to become the skilled craftspeople of tomorrow.
- To provide an experiential learning opportunity for these youth who are interested in trade-related careers.
- To provide scholarships as part of the successful completion of the training program.
- To enroll primary sponsoring partners for each of the youth participants.
- To provide an opportunity for existing craftspeople to pass on their knowledge and skills to the next generation.
- To provide a “real world” experience for these youth wishing to learn the forest and building trades and make them their profession.
- To create a pilot and feasibility study for economic development and job creation using the Craftsmanship Camp model.
- To afford multiple opportunities for public relations and marketing for the partner organizations.
- National Center for Craftsmanship
- The Conservation Cooperative
- US Forest Service – Youth Corps
- Anchor Point Group
- Colorado State University
- Local business and industry sponsors
- Other non-profit organizations
By partnering with other non-profit, government, and private entities, NCC proposes to develop a novel approach to trades-based workforce development by teaching forest ecology, the wild land-human interface, and forest products. The delivery of the training program will utilize an outward bound, expeditionary learning model. Up to 20 students and their instructors and support personnel will be placed in a camp in or near the national forest. A 2-week curriculum is being developed that provides for the following learning outcomes:
1. Forest Ecology
Mapping & GIS
2. Wild land – Human Interface
Wild land fire management
3. Forest Products
Tools & Equipment
Product development and manufacture
NCC continues to develop and deliver innovative training and education programs in the area of skilled trades. Our 501(c)(3) designation, coupled with our State Enterprise Zone Project status provides us the opportunity to provide significant incentives to donors in the form of standard tax deductions and Enterprise Zone State tax credits. Our current DeConstruct training program model has shown financial benefits to our donors that far exceed the cost of traditional demolition of otherwise unwanted buildings or property improvements. We believe that this model is directly transferable to our Craftsmanship Camp training program currently under development.
As our current economy continues to be challenged, certain market segments have seen significant reductions in activities that threaten the long term sustainability of our trades-based industries. The recent housing market decline, the pull-back in the manufacturing sector, and the loss of highly experienced foresters and wild-land firefighters has forced many of our highly skilled trades people into alternative lines of work, unemployment, or retirement. The training of our future trades-based workforce will require significant commitment of resources and innovative approaches to knowledge and skill transfer. Within the natural environment, significant opportunities exist for combining traditional trades education with forestry.
Currently, our forests are entering a period of rapid transition. The mountain pine beetle is quickly deteriorating the majority of Colorado’s lodgepole and ponderosa pine stands. This will result in significant changes in the way we interact and operate in our forests and other wild lands. Additional concerns of wild land fire, the threat of unstable standing deadwood, and other potential hazards will challenge our long-held notions of how we manage and sustain our forest ecosystems. However, embedded within these challenges are some significant opportunities.
National Center for Craftsmanship Mission and Goals
The mission of NCC is to preserve, enhance, and sustain our community craftspeople and to assure that their knowledge, skills and abilities are passed on to the next generation. Nationally, there exists a growing crisis as our skilled trade workers continue to age. The emergence of our information-based service economy has led to unintended consequences that have adversely affected our trades-based industries. A study by the Construction Labor Research Institute (2005) suggests that we currently face a national deficit of 250,000 skilled construction workers, with this number expected to double by the year 2015. Further, research [National Association of Manufacturers] has determined that 85% of respondents claim that a lack of adequately skilled workers has negatively affected their operations and financial bottom line.
NCC seeks to address these and other issues facing our skilled trade workforce and industries. By developing and implementing real-world, hands-on training programs we are engaging community youth and young adults in an effort to recruit and train our future craftspeople. The majority of these youth, through circumstance or choice, will not be going on to college after high school graduation (in Colorado more than 20% will not graduate high school). Careers in the skilled trades are both fulfilling and rewarding for these non-college bound youth. The jobs they will perform cannot be outsourced, provide relatively high wages, and can lead to small business creation and entrepreneurship. What is needed is a formal mechanism to engage, recruit, and train our future craftspeople.